Marek Stapleton's Journal
Kicking Cancer's Butt!
Written Sep 26, 2013 11:28am by Krissy Stapleton9/19/2013 marked Marek's one year anniversary since his cancer diagnosis. Today, as I look down at my baby boy, I know we are exactly where I was hoping and praying we would be one year from that day. Then, we were in this nightmare and couldn't wait to see the light at the end of that long, dark tunnel. Every single day was a struggle to get through and the truth is, we weren't really sure if we would ever make it out. Now, it's such an incredible feeling being on the other side. Hooray!!
On 9/22/2012 my mother in law and father in law were joining in marriage. Although that was a happy celebration, I remember rushing to their beautiful country wedding directly from the hospital in a daze. When our car pulled up, I saw my mother in law for the first time since Marek's diagnosis, all dressed in ivory lace. She looked beautiful, my father in law handsome. It was so emotional for everyone and I ran to her for comfort, apologizing for being two hours late. We hugged harder than ever before, without any words at all, and I felt safe in that moment.
On 9/22/2013, Marek took his first independent steps. It was such an incredible milestone on so many different levels. Exactly one year ago, this is all I wanted. The simple pleasures. I wanted so badly the innocence back in my child's life that I felt was stolen, in a sense. I see the wispy, blonde curls that softly touch the back of his neck, his big, five-toothed grin, his chubby baby rolls all over and thank God for this. This is what we have been praying for. This is all I need.
I blink through the mist in my eyes and smile. It's been quite a year, my friends. Marek has shown us that he will make his mark on the world. He is going to pave his own path in life like a bulldozer. I'm pushing all of my fears aside and placing my confidence in him. He is my incredible baby boy and the strongest person I know. We are truly blessed to be in celebration at this time in our lives, at one year post-cancer diagnosis. Hallelujah!
Mommy and Daddy are here baby Marek, through thick and thin. You can always count on us to hold your hand through anything life throws your way. We love you more than words and are so proud of everything you do. I hope you grow and play and make mistakes and learn. We're so excited for your future! Happy cancer-free day number 239 and counting :-)
And thank YOU, friends and family, for continuing to pray for Marek and our family.
With so much love,
The Stapleton Family
Happy Birthday Mare-Bear!!
Written Jul 30, 2013 10:15am by Krissy StapletonHappy birthday to our baby boy! We've come a long way in just one short year, I feel like it's been much longer, yet I can't believe his first birthday is already here. I've had some crazy mixed emotions today and in the days leading up to it but happiness is certainly the most prominent.
Every minute is a milestone - we celebrate a lot on our house! Merely ten months ago I was so uncertain of his future and now I am feeling confident it will be as bright as that great, big, charming smile on his sweet, little, chubby face! I know there is a reason for what has happened, although I may never understand. I have had a lot of 1:1 time with him throughout the last year that most mothers don't get with their third child. Although it has been mostly hospital time and healing/recovery time, I am thankful for the time we've had together. Maybe that will somehow shape him in a way that will impact his future or someone else's life through him. Either way, I just know he's going to do great things!
Moving onto MORE good news, Marek had a CT scan on Friday, July 26th and it came back negative - meaning, no cancer in his lungs. That's another thing we are celebrating today - Marek is six months cancer free! I'm considering him cancer free from the point of his amputation which happened on his six month "birthday". He wasn't officially pronounced "cancer free" until three months later because of that questionable nodule I wrote about in one of my previous posts. As far as I'm concerned though, he was rid of that terrible disease the moment they physically took it from his body.
Which brings me back to his most recent CT scan. Although they said the scan was negative, they did mention to me that he has two small nodules right now. The doctor said the nodules were there last time and haven't changed so they are not concerned. I however, AM concerned because I was under the impression that there were NO nodules present during his last scan. The doctors and I are most likely having a miscommunication but I'll be following up regardless, just so we are understanding one another.
I will continue to update Caring Bridge as I see fit although the updates will naturally become farther apart as Marek grows bigger and stronger and his cancer becomes more and more a distant memory. We ask that you continue to keep Marek in your prayers because we don't take his, or anyone's health for granted in our family. Every day is a gift and we are so blessed to have three beautiful, healthy children. Thanks for your support everyone!
Standing on his own two feet!
Written May 30, 2013 1:51pm by Krissy StapletonTwo weeks ago we went to Shriners hospital to have Marek fitted for his prosthetic leg. We saw the prosthesis specialist, Matt. He put three socks on Marek's tiny leg, drew smiley faces to mark his his knee cap, and then carefully wrapped it in that mesh material they use for casting. He squeezed the cast all around until it slowly began to form a mold. It took about 5-10 minutes before the cast was hard enough to remove without it changing shape but pliable enough to easily slide it off Marek's leg. Unsurprisingly, Marek didn't cry one bit but smiled happily and tugged at Matt's hair while he worked.
Normally it takes about three weeks to get the prosthetic leg, they custom build it right there at Shriners. However per my persistent requests, they were able to get it done in two weeks time! Yesterday was the big day so we excitedly packed up and headed to Shriners to get Marek's leg. Woo hoo!!!! We saw Matt again, (it's nice Marek will get to continue his care with the same providers until age 22) who tried the new leg on him to see how it fit. I stood Marek up and held onto his tiny hands, both mommy and son were beaming from ear to ear as he let out a little giggle. Blinking away tears, I watched my baby boy stand on his own two feet at 9.5 months old. Assisted of course (none of our children had been early walkers anyway), but standing nonetheless. Besides, this was such an incredible milestone exclusively for Marek. Our strong little guy has since been crawling and pulling to a standing position just like he did before, only now he is slowly incorporating the use of his new leg. I believe he understands that it's a part of him and he will never look back.
My little baby has had quite a life. I am certain that he is wise beyond the mere months he's been alive. As I gazed down at him, dancing and bouncing on two feet while tightly gripping my fingers, I felt an overwhelming sense of pride wash over me. I'd been so privileged to have held his hand throughout this journey, to be right there with him long before his first breath was taken. We share a deep connection only a mother and son can share and I am absolutely honored to have him as my child. My son is my hero and I'm not sure how to express what that means to me. There simply aren't words powerful enough to convey that feeling and this is just one of those rare moments where I am speechless - Although that seems to be happening to me more often these days :-)
I want to thank everyone for your support - for reading Marek's journal entries and signing the guestbook. Every message you write is literally creating a memory for him to read one day. Amazingly, there are still monetary donations trickling in and we are so incredibly thankful for that as well, your thoughtfulness means so much and continues to help us more than you know. Thank you for sending prayers for Marek and our little family. The power of prayer is strong and we can feel it wrapped around us like the warmest of hugs, lifting us up so high! Our hearts are bursting with love for all of you - Thank you, thank you and God Bless :-)